Rather than having to remember passwords, answers to secret questions and telephone length number combinations, bank account holders will instead be identified by their veins.
“It is in men as in soils where sometimes there is a vein of gold which the owner knows not”
– Jonathan Swift
The technology works with the use of an infra-red scanner. Portable and pluggable into any computer USB port, a customer simply places his or her finger inside the device with the unique patterns of their veins being read.
If the finger is approved, the customer will have access to their account within seconds.
The scanner will only be able to read the veins of a living finger, giving the technology a distinct advantage over fingerprint recognition and thwarting fraudsters much more effectively.
While it is the first time the technology has been on show in the UK, the new approach is successfully used in Japan and Poland. In both countries it is used on cash machines, (ATMs), with the customer not having to use a card or remember their personal identification number (PIN).
“Let me remind you that credit is the lifeblood of business, the lifeblood of prices and jobs”
– Herbert Hoover
Initially, Barclays will only offer the vein scanning service to its business customers, with companies registering to use the technology able to register several members of staff. Barclays says the system will allow one person to request the payment with another approving it.
Barclays has said that the expense of the technology in its present form is unlikely to appeal to retail banking customers immediately, but the head of personal and corporate banking for the bank, Ashok Vaswani, explained it was ideal for larger firms:
“For corporate clients who do a lot of large transactions, this makes a lot of sense,”
However, retail devices and use-at-home devices could not be far away, which would create a whole new trend of finger banking.